June 2018

226 227 THE HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY A HOME FOR RACE FANS A fter Hurricane Andrew decimat- ed the city of Homestead, Flor- ida, some 34 miles southwest of Miami, in August 1992, the Department of Defense decided not to rebuild the heavily damaged Homestead Air Force Base, but rather downgraded it to an Air Reserve base. “So, in one fell swoop, the Department of Defense moved about 13,000 enlisted people and their families out of a community that only had 45,000 residents to begin with,” says Al Garcia, Vice President for Operations at the Home- stead-Miami Speedway. “That meant the loss of 400 civilian and 400 military jobs at the base,” Garcia con- tinues. “To make it right, the Department of Defense gave the City of Homestead a $75 million grant to build themselves an ‘eco- nomic generator’ to create jobs, post hur- HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY The